The Beatles’ back catalogue will appear on music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music for the first time on Christmas Eve.
The Beatles’ representative Apple Corps and label Universal Music have opted for broad access rather than signing an exclusive deal with one partner, as they did in 2010 with Apple’s iTunes when Beatles downloads first went on sale .
The band’s back catalogue will be available from 12.01am on Christmas Eve on nine services: Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer, Google Play, Amazon Prime, Slacker, Microsoft’s Groove and Rhapsody.
“Just as with downloads the Beatles are fashionably late to the streaming party. Late enough not to stand around awkwardly waiting for stuff to happen, but in time for the real action,” said music industry consultant Mark Mulligan, of Midia Research.
“Streaming is just getting going and the Beatles catalogue will be there during what will likely prove to be streaming’s coming of age year.”
The Beatles may be new to the world of streaming, but it has been a different story for the individual band members.
The solo catalogues of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have been available to stream for some time, although McCartney removed his albums from streaming services between 2010 and 2012. John Lennon’s solo albums were added in 2014 , followed by George Harrison’s in 2015 .
Spotify’s public statistics will provide the first indication of how popular the Beatles are with streaming users. The company publishes a chart of its most popular tracks , currently topped by Justin Bieber’s Sorry with 3.8m daily streams.
Nearly 1.1 million people are already following the official Beatles profile on Spotify, and due to a smattering of compilation tracks, the band already has nearly 350,000 monthly listeners. One song, Ain’t She Sweet, has been streamed 5.7m times so far.
The Beatles back catalogue proved popular in 2010 as iTunes downloads, selling more than 450k albums and 2m singles in the first week after going live. In the streaming world, their main competition will be younger pop acts. Bieber is currently the most popular artist on Spotify with 31.7 million monthly listeners.
“There is a keen understanding that there are a number of largely separate music consumer audiences. A large share of those Beatles fans that are prospective album buyers are not yet streaming and probably won’t be for at least a couple of years,” said Mulligan.
“This is the dynamic that Adele illustrated by simultaneously smashing records for audio streams, video streams, downloads and radio plays.”
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